Windows Apps Still Smell Like Windows RT

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2015 - 06:23 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows, windows 10, winRT, windows rt

Even though I am really liking the Windows 10 operating system from a technical standpoint, I did not mind Windows 8.x, as software, either. My concern was its promotion of the Windows Store for the exact same reasons that I dislike the iOS App Store. Simply put, for your application to even exist, Microsoft (or Apple) needs to certify you as a developer, which they can revoke at any time, and they need to green light your creations.

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This has a few benefits, especially for Microsoft. First and foremost, it gives them a killswitch for malicious software and their developers. Second, it gives them as much control over the platform as they want. If devices start flowing away from x86 to other instruction sets, like we almost saw a few years ago, then Windows can pick up and go with much less friction than the corner they painted themselves into with Win32.

This also means that developers need to play ball, even for terms that Microsoft is forced to apply because of pressure for specific governments. LGBT groups should be particularly concerned as other platforms are already banning apps that are designed for their members. Others could be concerned about encryption and adult art, even in Western nations. If Microsoft, or someone with authority over them, doesn't want your content to exist: it's gone (unless it can run in a web browser).

On the plus side, I don't see the rule where third-party browser engines are banned anymore. When Windows 8 launched, all browsers needed to be little more than a reskin of Internet Explorer.

Beyond censorship, if Microsoft does not offer a side-loading mechanism for consumers, you also might need to give Microsoft a cut of your sales. You don't even seem to be able to give your app to specific people. If you want to propose to your significant other via a clever app, there does not seem to be a method to share it outside of the Windows Store unless you set up their device as a Window developer ahead of time.

Why do I say all this today? Because Microsoft has branded Universal Apps as Windows apps, and their strategy seems to be completely unchanged in these key areas. What kept me from updating to Windows 8 was not its user interface. It was the same thing that brought me to develop in Web technologies and volunteer for Mozilla.

It was the developer certification and lack of side-loading for modern apps.

I get it. Microsoft is tired of being bullied with crap about how it is insecure and a pain for the general public. At the very least, they need a way for users to opt out, though. What they are doing with Windows 10 is very nice, and I would like to see it as my main operating system, but I need to prioritize alternative platforms if this one is heading in a very dark direction.

Win32 might be a legacy API, but the ability to write what I want should not be.


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March 25, 2015 | 06:51 PM - Posted by Tower (not verified)

Well, now them announcing that Windows 10 being free, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. I was concerned with there wording around it being free for a year, then them saying they would upgrade pirated copies.

Have they changed Visual Studio to only allow a person to make a windows app or can you still make proper applications that we are all used to? are we going to lose the ability to install win32 applications or will they remove that too? it is looking more and more like i will have to stay with windows 7 (or atleast a partiton) for my productivity machine, which is unfortunate in that i really do love what Microsoft has done with the upgrades "behind the scenes" in windows 8/8.1, but find the way the control panel is broken up and a few other features that it really turns me away from it and still saw the same discrepancies in windows 10 Technical Preview.

I'm glad that Valve started working on SteamOS when they did as it my come out just in time to save my PC gaming as this almost feels like a push to squeeze steam out and promote Xbox with there promise of cross platform apps, write it once ..... yadda yadda.

Concerning all around, it could be an interesting fall (season and company wise :p )

March 25, 2015 | 10:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well with M$ controlling the UEFI secure boot key issuing authority, and OEMs given the option(Wink Wink), with windows 10, to -> NOT <- provide any UEFI secure boot disable in their device's UEFIs, Steam OS may be a difficult option on some Third Party OEM PC/Laptop hardware. It's about time people start making some noise with the US Justice Department's antitrust division, like they have done with net neutrality and the FCC. Windows 10 is a definite no purchase/no install option on any device with a UEFI boot system. This locking in the third party OEM PC/Laptop hardware to an OS ecosystem, and security key issuing authority, is most definitely an illegal forced vertical monopolistic control over the third party PC/Laptop OEM hardware market, and the secure boot security key certificate issuing authority in the hands of the main PC/Laptop OS monopoly is the very definition of a conflict of interest.

Let the lawsuits begin, and Federal Agencies can be sued by individuals and groups for not enforcing the laws on the books. The US Justice Department's Antitrust Division seriously needs to look into M$'s actions, as this OS bundling on independent third party PC/Laptop OEMs hardware is potentially much worse than the Browser bundling issues of the past that have forced legal remedies to the problem. With the EU mandating that purchasers of new third party OEM PC/Laptop hardware have OS choice, it's definitely time for such a requirement in the US, and new third party OEM PC/Laptop hardware should NOT come with any pre-installed/Bundled OS, or a secure boot issuing authority under the control of the one entity that has the major monopoly in the third party PC/Laptop OS market.

It's time to make Much Noise, and let it be Known that a monopoly break up is definitely in order, that and some legal decisions, and regulations mandating user OS choice on third party OEM PC/Laptop hardware, the same for Tablets and other mobile hardware. M$ is sure to be spinning the so called third party PC/Laptop OEM's option to disable the UEFI secure boot option in order to appear impartial, but this is just a shallow attempt at fostering an unfounded in reality form of plausible deniability on M$'s behalf, we all know how the one hand washes the other in the so called independent PC/Laptop market by the Standard Oil of PC/Laptop OS makers!

March 25, 2015 | 10:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Edit: UEFI secure boot option in order to appear
To: UEFI secure boot Disable option in order to appear

March 25, 2015 | 08:14 PM - Posted by ppi (not verified)

First, as Windows 7 user and Android phone user, I am really looking to having single, relative secure place for getting my apps, and having consistent and standardized means for updating them without too much hassle from user side (I am looking at you Adobe, Oracle and Apple).

This app store will likely fulfill like 95% of my apps needs.

However, I do use a few apps (mainly game mod managers) that I believe probably would not attempt to get official app store certification.

And for that case, I do not see why the universal apps (with their ppi scaling and touch/desktop switching) should be limited only to MS store.

I would understand, if for security reasons, installing universal apps outside of standard MS app store would require toggling some switch in security settings, with answering couple times that I understand the risks of installing from "uncertified sources". That is fine. But ultimately, MS, just allow it for those who want it.

As a sidenote, I wonder where Steam will stand.

March 26, 2015 | 01:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"What kept me from updating to Windows 8 was not its user interface. It was the same thing that brought me to develop in Web technologies and volunteer for Mozilla.

It was the developer certification and lack of side-loading for modern apps."

that doesn't make much sense. Windows 8 when not using Metro UI apps is equivalent to Windows 7 with performance improvements. If your reason for not updating was that you didn't want to creat Metro apps, why not just update and not create Metro apps? It;s not like Microsoft even has the option to get rid of Win32; their entire dominance as an OS relies on continuing to support Win32 programs.

March 26, 2015 | 08:51 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Correct, but I wanted my Windows 7 license to be a vote against Windows Store.

I'm honestly considering doing the same with Windows 10, especially since it looks like they might be able to push an update to remove Win32 support and you have zero recourse. They push, you receive. Either way, I'm going to voice what I dislike.

March 26, 2015 | 06:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

We should now call them Wapps, yes Wapps, and M$ wants to Wapp us in the wallet, and permanently lock our hardware into its Wapp ecosystem! So it will be Wapp right in the face, that OS upgrade was free, but now that M$ has you in their OSAAS, Wapp ecosystem, with your hardware unable to boot up anything but more Wapps, that Wapps up M$'s real intent, with all that nebulous "Supported lifetime of the device" and other dog and pony show theatrics! Enjoy your Wapp servitude, and a 10 out of 10 in stupidity for falling for that M$ shell game in the first place. Windows 7 is the new XP, and the last of the non Wapps ecosystem M$ OSs, or whatever soup du jour naming scheme M$'s marketing monkeys choose to call it next time.

March 27, 2015 | 12:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Shut up, Tim Crook!

March 27, 2015 | 03:09 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Not appropriate.

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